These 2020 Tokyo Olympics Spoilers Hint There Are Some Exciting Surprises In Store
The 2016 Rio Olympics came to a close on Sunday, August 21, which means it'll be another four years before we get to watch the world's top athletes in everything from track and field to swimming compete in one spot. As the 2016 Olympians return to their respective countries, some will hang up their swim trunks and cleats while others still harboring gold-medal dreams will head back to the gym. The International Olympic Committee, meanwhile, passed the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony to Japan, which will be hosting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. What can we expect at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo? There may be some big surprises.
During the Rio closing ceremony, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe popped up on stage disguised as Mario from Super Mario — seriously — to formally accept the Olympic flag. This officially marked the end of the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the audience was treated to a new Japanese-themed dance to celebrate the occasion.
But will all of Team USA's star athletes be in Tokyo by the time 2020 rolls around? Team USA completely dominated the 2016 Summer Olympics, earning 121 medals overall, but there are some athletes who plan on retiring in the next few years.
Swimmer Michael Phelps, who's won the most Olympic medals in sports history, will not be returning in 2020. Phelps announced last week that he will retire after the Rio Olympics. While Phelps has come out of retirement before, he seems pretty certain about staying out of the Olympic pool in 2020. Phelps' absence, however, will open up the swimming field a bit, giving younger swimmers like Chad Le Clos of South Africa a chance to bring home gold.
Female swimming stars Simone Manuel and Katie Ledecky have said that they are determined to come back in 2020. Manuel told I Heart Radio that there is definitely more gold medals on the horizon.
One athlete we may not see around in 2020 is Ryan Lochte. Although Lochte said he would be returning in 2020, he is now facing discipline for allegedly reporting a false crime. There have been calls to suspend Lochte for four years, which would push him out of the 2020 Olympics.
Gymnastics may be a completely open field in 2020. Five-time Olympic medalist Simone Biles told CNN that 2020 is "very far away." Although Biles said she'll return to training "after a lot of vacations," gymnasts unfortunately have very short careers, and there is a possibility that, at age 23, Biles won't compete in Tokyo. But, as she's already shown us, anything is possible.
As for which sports will be in the next games, the Tokyo Olympics will shake things up a bit. The International Olympic Committee announced earlier in August that there will be five new sports at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: skateboarding, surfing, karate, baseball/softball and climbing.
Oh, and there's also already a 2020 Tokyo Twitter account. Don't forget the catchy hashtag, "Rio to Tokyo."
Biles may have said that 2020 is "very far away," but these next Olympics already seem like they're just around the corner. We'll see you soon, Tokyo.